Therapy sessions

Therapy is not easy, but it gets easier. To facilitate new learning and lasting change, we work to incorporate the following:

  • Maintain a high level of focus
  • Develop an atmosphere of trust by displaying skill and competence.
  • Build a collaborative alliance in which both participants give 100% of their effort to the task
  • Facilitate intense involvement, in which multiple modes of experience (cognitive, emotional, physical, and interpersonal) are facilitated and integrated
  • Keep anxiety and stress in the moderate range, alternating with periods of calm consolidation
  • Encourage profound moments of meeting by encouraging the removal of barriers to intimacy and closeness
  • Develop meaning and a coherent life narrative

Initial Assessment

Initial Assessment

The initial appointment is generally scheduled as a two-hour session to allow the client and therapist to entirely express and process the nature of the problem. During this first extended session, we begin to plan the goals and tasks for subsequent sessions to resolve the presenting problem (Please note patients using MHCP can claim for only one hour of the initial two-hour session)

Subsequent sessions

Subsequent sessions

After the initial session and assuming the client is comfortable and wish to proceed, we organise regular ongoing appointments of 50-minute duration.

Online sessions

Online sessions

Online therapy follows a slightly different format. Although online therapy can be just as positive an experience as face to face, intense screen time is limited to one hour to avoid client and therapist fatigue.

What is Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP)

ISTDP was developed by Dr. Habib Davanloo of McGill University, it is an evidence-based, emotion-focused, experiential therapy, aimed to get to the root of patients’ difficulties in as short a timeframe as possible to enable them to overcome symptoms and reach their full potential. The main emphasis of ISTDP is to help the client acknowledge, identify, experience, and express unconscious emotions, that are defended against and often create symptoms. ISTDP therapy provides an intense focus on the unconscious defensive barriers that work against successful treatment. 


What Are Defences and Why Do We Have Them?

As we develop, we can create psychological defences to cope with emotional discomfort and pain. We might use denial when faced with a complicated truth or rationalise our actions to avoid experiencing guilt. In emotionally overwhelming or traumatic situations, defences can help us escape the experience through mechanisms such as dissociation and the burying of painful memories.

While defences can serve as useful allies, especially in childhood, by shielding us from intense feelings or trauma, they can become unhelpful and cause intense suffering later in life. These once useful defences, may hold us back from our full potential, if applied rigidly and automatically.

What Does the ISTDP Experience Look and Feel Like?

Treatment begins with a detailed inquiry into the precise nature of the problem. The therapist works with the client to set therapeutic goals. Each session is a focused collaboration in which the therapist examines the specific conflicts or events while observing the responses. The therapist will draw attention to the patient’s internal experience throughout the session, including their automatic defences, anxiety symptoms and emotions. 

Therapeutic interventions focus on the aim of replacing automatic defences and anxiety with healthy emotional regulation. If patients can reduce their anxiety and relinquish automatic defences, their unconscious longings, feelings, and memories rise to the surface and are available for deeper processing with the support of the therapist. Some patients describe this part of the therapy as powerful and liberating. 

Video Taping

The complex nature of the therapy may produce a wide array of verbal and non-verbal material.
To maximise and review the sessions, clinicians may, with their client’s permission, use videotaping.

common questions

Treatment length varies depending upon individual need, the nature of the issue and the pace at which treatment can progress.

Therapy is an investment in Mental health.

Medicare rebate is currently $124 for a 50+ minute session with a clinical psychologist on a mental health treatment plan.

Under MHCP, patients are entitled up to 20 sessions per calendar year. For patients with an eating disorder, the entitlement is up to 40 sessions per calendar year.

The actual cost will vary on the individual therapist. My current private practice fees are $230 per session, making the gap payment approximately $106.

You can refer yourself privately contacting Robina Therapy directly or by filling in the contact form HERE.

If you wish to use MHCP, you will need to see your GP in the first instance. Your GP will complete the MHCP and send the MHCP directly to Robina Therapy. You can then contact the clinic to secure an appointment.